Happy New Year everyone! The first day of 2016 is upon us, meaning a fresh slate for us to fill with road trips, food trips, and fun trips with friends, family, and loved ones.
Subic has long been a favorite destination of people coming from Manila due to its proximity (3 hours away now due to SCTEX) as well as the bevy of activities that can be done there. But like any other instance of going out of town, the question that always comes up is this:
“Where do we eat?”
Here, I’ll be giving some suggestions on where to eat and not to eat in Subic.
Xtremely Xpresso Cafe
The food here is simply delectable. Look no further when deciding what to have for breakfast when in Subic. The Tocilog is superb, and the Blueberry Crepe is a must-try. For lunch, the Big Ben Pizza is a no-brainer, and has insane value for money since it is loaded with a generous amount of toppings. Go for the X (bigger portion), since the price difference is minimal while the size difference is huge.
Aside from the regular breakfast fare, Xtremely Xpresso also serves Pasta, Soups, Sandwiches, and Entrees such as Fish Fillet, Porkchop, and Ribs. Of course, being a Cafe, there is no shortage of great offerings in terms of hot coffee and frozen frappes, with the Mochaccino being a personal favorite.
(Chef Jase’s tip: Coffee is refillable from 6AM to 10AM for every breakfast order, and trust me, you will want more than one serving of their joe.)
*Budget – Php 500 for 2 people
If dining with a vegetarian, Meat Plus probably isn’t the best place to go for a meal. They specialize in satiating the appetites of carnivores, with their Roast Beef at the top of the food chain. As seen in the picture, the portion is big enough to be shared. The meat is a little bit on the dry side, but the gravy au jus does a good job of bringing in some much needed moisture to the dish. The Beef Belly is another bestseller, the beef being tender enough to be sliced without the use of a knife. It could use some acidity in the dish to cut through the fat, as it does tend to feel one-dimensional after a while. As for the Pork Chop, it didn’t stand out, as it happened to be a bit overcooked.
Overall, Meat Plus is a safe choice. With the big portions, it should be fine in filling you up for a long day ahead. But, similar to the pork chop, I find Meat Plus to be nothing special. Not a must-try when in Subic.
(Chef Jase’s tip: Lines tend to get long during peak hours (11:30am to 1pm). Avoid the wait by arriving before or after this window of time.)
*Budget – Php 800 for 2 people
If it isn’t obvious enough in the picture, their Spare Ribs (comes in 2, 3, 5, or 15 bones) are MASSIVE. A showstopper once it hits the table, these are the reason that Texas Joe’s is considered an institution in Subic. Succulent, tender, fall-off-the-bones, these ribs were done the right way – low and slow. The smokiness embedded in the meat is intoxicating, almost to the point of being addicting. These bad boys don’t need sauce but Texas Joe’s provides three of them just to up the ante; the Habanero, Honey BBQ, and Classic. Amongst the sides, the Dirty Rice and Corny Corn Bread are the stand-outs, serving as the perfect compliment to the aggresively-seasoned ribs.
Appetizers aren’t necessary (just look at how majestic those ribs are), and their apps aren’t remotely as good as their ribs. The quesadillas are pedestrian, and their buffalo wings are nothing out of the ordinary. As for dessert, the Apple Pie a la Mode is pretty good. One can never go wrong with anything topped with ice cream.
Texas Joe’s is the single restaurant in Subic that I have to eat at every single visit. The combination of great food done right, authentic smokehouse ambiance, and ginormous portions is just too much to resist. EAT HERE. Then thank me later.
(Chef Jase’s tip: Mix the habanero and honey barbecue sauce to create a medley of sweet and spicy that is sure to make anyone’s taste buds tingle. Bottled BBQ sauces can be bought and brought home for later consumption.)
*Budget – Php 1,000 for 2 people
In one of our visits to Subic, we asked our Airbnb host Cory where they usually go for a good meal. Sakura is one of the two places he mentioned. Serving authentic Japanese cuisine, their prices reflect the quality of the ingredients they use to cook. The Chicken Karaage Set is good for 2 persons, with the chicken thigh fillets perfectly cooked in seasoned breading. Fans of Okonomiyaki will love their rendition, as it is both large (approximately 8 inches in diameter) and very flavorful.
The flavors are spot-on based on the dishes we’ve tried so far. For future visits, we’ll probably be skipping the set in order to be able to experience more of their other offerings. The Okonomiyaki, though? I doubt we’ll be able to resist.
(Chef Jase’s tip: For the Sake drinkers out there, you can order a bottle for your table, and if you can’t finish it, you can write your name on it and come back for it at a different time.)
Budget – Php 1,000 for 2 people
Rachi Curry Corner
The second of Cory’s suggestions, we’ve actually seen this place a lot over our visits to Subic, as it is situated along the same road as Xtremely Xpresso. We’ve been meaning to try it, and the recommendation served as the final push we needed to go for it.
The Lamb Curry was stunning. The sauce was delectable, and the texture was perfect. The lamb meat was tender, and the freshness of the cilantro really brought the whole dish together. Paired with the Parata Roti, it was a feast fit for a king. Watch out for the small bones lost in the sauce though, as those can severely ruin the fun in a hurry if bitten into.
While waiting for the mains to arrive, try out their Samosas. Don’t go too crazy, though, as samosas are quite the heavy appetizer, so one piece per person will do. The dipping sauce has an intensely wonderful flavor and aroma, so apply liberally.
Even for just the curry alone, we’ll be back. Everything else that we find here in this hidden gem is just a bonus.
(Chef Jase’s tip: If in a hurry, they serve Shawarma to-go. There’s a window outside wherein you can order and just wait in the car while they prepare. An alternative merienda option aside from the usual Mcdonalds or Jollibee sandwiches.)
*Budget – Php 1,000 for 2 people
So there you have it! Five restaurants in Subic that you may have thought about eating at, with the highlights and lowlights at your disposal. Hopefully this article helps you the next time you have to ask:
“Where do we eat?”
Found this article helpful? Have any additional insights you wish to share? Feel free to leave a comment and I promise to engage in conversation as soon as I can! Thanks!